If Trump wasn't under investigation before for colluding with Russian spies to steal the election from Hillary Clinton, it seems that he may be now for claims that he intentionally obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey just over a month ago...at least according to more anonymous sources from the Washington Post which have proven themselves to be slightly less than completely 'accurate' several times in the recent past.
According to Wapo, this new revelation marks a "major turning point" in the investigation of the Trump administration and will get underway with interviews of numerous "senior intelligence officials" as early as this week.
The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.
The move by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s own conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.
Five people briefed on the requests, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Adm. Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’ recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy and it’s unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.
And, like many of these stories from the past 6 months, the breathless headline from Wapo is followed, some 10 paragraphs into the story, with a slightly more realistic 'hedge' which suggests that the whole story may just another fishing expedition into prompting yet another infuriated response by Trump, which would assure he digs himself into an even deeper hole. Here is today's 'hedge':
The interviews suggest Mueller sees the attempted obstruction of justice question as more than just a “he said, he said” dispute between the president and the fired FBI director, an official said.
Of course, as we pointed out last week, Senator Jim Risch did a masterful job of dismantled any 'hopes' of an obstruction of justice case when he essentially got Comey himself to admit there was no 'there' there:
Risch: "Boy you nailed this down on page 5 paragraph 3, you put this in quotes, words matter, you wrote down the words so we could all have the words in front of us now. There are 28 words there that are in quotes and it says, 'I hope', this is the President speaking, 'I hope you can see your way claer to letting this go, to letting Flynn go...I hope you can let this go.'"
"Now those are his exact words, is that correct"
Risch: "And you wrote them here and you put them in quotes?"
Risch: "Thank you for that. He did not direct you to let it go."
Comey: "Not in his words, no."
Risch: "He did not order you to let it go."
Comey: "Again, those words are not an order."
Risch: "He said 'I hope'. Now, like me you probably did 100's of cases, maybe 1,000s of cases charging people with criminal offenses. And, of course, you have knowlege of the 1,000s of cases out there where people have been charged. Do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction of justice, for that matter of any other criminal offense, where they said or thought they hoped for an outcome?"
Comey: "I don't know well enough to answer. And the reason I keep saying 'his words' is I took it as a direction..."
Risch: "You may have taken it as a direction but that is not what he said. He said, 'I hope.' You don't know of anyone who has ever been charged for hoping something, is that a fair statement?"
Comey: "I don't as I sit here."
Comey: “I took it as – this is what he wants me to do” when Trump said he hoped he’d lay off the Flynn, but I didn’t do it pic.twitter.com/Uoz4wf2ORg— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 8, 2017
So, to summarize, for anyone who has managed to ignore all the mass hysteria of the past 6 months, the intelligence community basically forced Trump's hand by slowly leaking out damaging innuendos and accusations over the past several months, all while refusing to confirm that he, himself, was never actually under investigation. In the end, those damaging leaks, combined with Comey's refusal to confirm publicly that Trump was not under investigation, resulted in Comey's sudden dismissal on May 9th. And now, even though he was never a target of any investigation, leaks from the intelligence community have forced a situation where Trump may be under investigation by the intelligence community, a rather confounding, if perhaps well-orchestrated, outcome.